DIXON, IL (CBSMiami) — An Illinois school resource officer is being hailed a hero for confronting an active shooter, a former student, who opened fire Wednesday morning at Dixon High School.READ MORE: Code Red Lockdown Lifted At South Plantation High
The shots rang round just after 8:00 a.m. near the gym where the senior class was taking part in a graduation rehearsal.
“It was chaos, it was complete chaos,” said senior Dusti Batch. “I didn’t look behind me I just took off running there were people pushing and shoving trying to get out.”
Police say the shooter was a 19-year-old former student. The school resource officer identified as Mark Dallas ran toward the shooter outside the gym.
“With shots ringing out through the hallways of the school, he charged toward the suspect and confronted him, head on. Because of his heroic actions countless lives were saved,” said Dixon Police Chief Steve Howell.
The suspect fled the school and Dallas pursued him. The suspect continued to shoot at the officer and the officer returned fire, Howell said. The suspect was hit and sustained non-life threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital.
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Sources say the suspect is Matt Milby. His mother says her son was ostracized at school after getting in trouble for drugs.
“There’s no justification for what he’s done and he will take full responsibility for that,” she said.
The officer is on paid administrate leave. No one else was injured.
Dixon High School and all Dixon public schools went into lockdown during the incident. When it was lifted, students were reunited with their parents.
“A tragedy was averted today in Dixon because a police officer put his life on the line to protect his fellow citizens,” said Shawn Roselieb, executive director of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council. “The officer’s actions at the high school will be closely scrutinized, but the simple fact is, nobody but the gunman was hurt today, and keeping students and teachers safe is the primary job for school resource officers.”
Vice President Mike Pence lauded the “heroic actions” of Officer Mark Dallas.MORE NEWS: SW Miami-Dade Man Accused Of Impersonating Law Enforcement Officer
“Another example of the brave work performed by law enforcement each and every day. Lives were saved thanks to the heroic actions of school resource officer Mark Dallas,” Pence said on Twitter.